SAP’s premium engagement offerings, MaxAttention and ActiveAttention, are packaged in a manner that makes it difficult for customers to determine the competitiveness of their deal. But no matter which support model you choose, it’s important to take steps to ensure that you aren’t paying for more than you need and are getting a good deal now, and in the future. Here we will provide a brief overview of SAP’s premium engagement offerings and how you can ensure that your agreement is competitive.
SAP’s Premium Support Offerings
As part of SAP’s Services and Support portfolio, premium engagement offerings involve a multi-year support model focused on the holistic needs of customer’s transformation journeys. In these engagements, SAP works with executives and line of business leaders to develop roadmaps, identify areas of value and execute on plans to achieve strategic objectives. Additionally, SAP works with technical teams to improve the business processes and efficiency of IT operations, mitigate risk and ultimately increase the value derived from SAP solutions.
These business and IT objectives are fulfilled by allocating outcome-focused support for the customer’s use during defined periods of the proposed term. Through these engagements, SAP customers can leverage a combination of onsite support partners, enterprise architects, technical quality managers, and a team of back-office delivery leads and experts on demand. Premium engagement offerings can be particularly valuable for companies adopting SAP’s newest technologies, such as SAP RISE.
What is the difference between SAP MaxAttention and SAP ActiveAttention?
MaxAttention has been around for years and in 2018, SAP released a new version to provide an even broader range of support that covers all SAP solutions. SAP launched ActiveAttenion in 2019 to provide different levels of service options that would allow customers to consume their premium engagement at whatever pace best serves their needs. In comparison to MaxAttention, ActiveAttention is meant for customers who prefer a high-level, collaborative partnership over a more hands-on, in-the-weeds approach.
After the 2019 launch of ActiveAttention, Silivio Bessa, who was then the Senior VP of Premium Customer Success, stated, “SAP MaxAttention is tailored to large customers with highly complex solution environments and data sets…who require an onsite team of SAP specialists that are 100 percent dedicated to the business,” while SAP ActiveAttention “provides access to an (off-site) SAP technical quality manager while still offering a level of service parallel to that of SAP MaxAttention.”
In general, companies that use MaxAttention tend to be SAP’s largest customers with complex SAP environments while ActiveAttention provides a more flexible structure. ActiveAttention is better suited for large companies with less complex environments or small-to-midsize customers with a higher need for premium levels of engagement.
Whether you determine that SAP MaxAttention or SAP ActiveAttention is the best fit for you, there are a few steps you can take to achieve a favorable premium engagement deal.
1. Benchmark Resource Rates
Based on the needs of its prospective customers, SAP will propose a tailored resource allocation for premium engagements. These resource allocations are broken out further by number of days within periods over the term for each resource. SAP typically does not provide transparency into the rates for each individual resource, but rather as an overall service fee over each period of the specified term.
This is done intentionally as SAP understands that their lack of transparency prohibits customers from conducting a traditional services rate assessment. Furthermore, SAP will often bury travel and living expenses into its service fees without providing the associated detail (which is especially concerning in the age of COVID-19).
We recommend taking steps to ensure SAP has provided you with the appropriate level of transparency that allows you to benchmark SAP’s proposed daily rates according to the recommended resource allocation (e.g., 35% Enterprise Architect, 35% Technical Quality Manager #1, 30% Technical Quality Manager #2, with any associated travel and living expenses).
Though SAP has made this difficult to do, it is possible to obtain benchmarks on your MaxAttention or ActiveAttention resource rates. Having assisted SAP customers on numerous MaxAttention and ActiveAttention deals, we have compiled data that companies can leverage to assess the competitiveness of SAP’s proposed support fees. In addition to comparing the proposal against historical rates, we take other factors into consideration such as length of term, number of support days, as well as size and scope of the larger relationship and SAP roadmap.
2. Validate Resource Allocation
While the rates themselves are important, it is critical to ensure SAP’s premium engagement proposals are right-sized based on your specific needs. When evaluating a premium engagement proposal, we recommend that you develop a strategy to gain a realistic understanding of your needs, validate SAP’s recommended resource allocation and assess opportunities to shift and/or reduce resource days. During this exercise, remember to be mindful of any potential overlap with work that is being (or may be) undertaken by system integrators.
3. Obtain Contractual Flexibility and Predictability
Optimizing your IT costs is a continuous effort. Negotiating flexibility and predictability up front can help you reduce or minimize costs later down the road. To ensure you aren’t overspending on support, it is essential to limit the number of unused resource days associated with premium engagement deals as much as possible.
Fortunately, we have seen SAP be willing to offer flexibility for customers to carry forward a portion of unused resource days towards a subsequent period. When negotiating your MaxAttention or ActiveAttention agreement, request that SAP allows you the flexibility to carry over resource days if the need arises.
It is also important to negotiate predictability around rates for additional resources or days that may be required during the term of a premium engagement contract as these support models are typically 3-5 years in length. Given this term length, it is also critical to negotiate termination for convenience if SAP’s premium engagement is not providing the expected value.
As you’d expect, SAP’s proposals range widely in regard to the offerings for these terms but it is possible to obtain more favorable terms by approaching SAP with the right information and data on hand.
If you would like to ensure your SAP premium engagement deal is competitive, consider working with our dedicated team of SAP advisors. We can leverage our experience and extensive database to benchmark your MaxAttention or ActiveAttention rates and provide effective strategies for validating resource allocation and obtaining contractual flexibility and predictability with SAP.